Vissel Kobe- Sanfrecce Hiroshima
Notes on Vissel's 2-1 home defeat to Gamba are in the preview above. They conceded for the eighth straight home game and it is close to impossible to see them keeping a clean sheet versus a Sanfrecce Hiroshima offense which is on fire right now, ahead of their last away start, a 2-1 win at Stage 1 champions Urawa, I wrote .....
"I like the odds about Sanfrecce Hiroshima today, if you take a quick look at the format, it is easy to make a case for them being the more motivated of the two given that they still have to qualify for post season play and have made no secret of the fact that they have eyes on a title this season .....After consecutive J-League titles they came up short last year, claiming to have been exhausted by the schedule, with two demanding Champions League campaigns, no such worries this year and they are very committed to another domestic title. They have shared the goals around this season, but the two main front men, Douglas and Sato both scored in midweek and look to be developing a potent understanding, Sato is a veteran now , but has been one of the most prolific J-L strikers for more than a decade and like most front men, tends to be very streaky and one goal usually follows another.
The front pair claimed 13 goals in stage 1 and incredibly, already have three between them in the two games since the restart , I only say "incredibly" as Sanfrecce nothched six in midweek without a contribution from Sato, he was taken off after little more than 50 minutes with today in mind and Douglas shortly afterwards and they should be fit and raring to go today.The pair will be boosted by the news that Urawa's vastly experienced central defender Daisuke Nasu is suspended, he has missed just one game this season in which Reds conceded three goals ( just 0.83 goals per game in the other 18 starts) and they have won just once in the five games he has sat out in the last three seasons. Last three h2h matches have been drawn and one goal today should be enough to secure at least a share of the points for the visitors and Urawa are less well equipped than usual to stop them scoring it."
They followed that up with another three points on Saturday and could largely switch off after the second goal, their 26th in just eight outings, at least two in each and with Kobe happier on the road, missing suspended left back Takahito Soma ( two defeats in 13 when he plays, 5 in 8 in his absence) and with a poor h2h record, I favour the visitors to claim the three points which will ensure they stay top of the overall championship for another week, having taken first place at the weekend.
Sanfrecce Hiroshima -0.25 ball 2.07 asian line/Sportmarket.